Will Smith Comes to the Defense of Netflix at Cannes

Ruben Ruiz
May 20, 2017

After winning for "The White Ribbon" in 2009 and "Amour" in 2012, "there are few filmmakers Cannes would rather see break the record", Clarke added in his predictions for the festival that runs until May 28. "Unbelievable film that theatre chains want to block us from entering into Cannes film festival competition".

This year marks the 70th birthday of the world's biggest film festival, with A-listers including Nicole Kidman, Clint Eastwood and Will Smith set to grace the glitzy French resort amid "unprecedented" tight security.

In what has been considered a watershed moment for the streaming service, it has two films competing for the Palme d'Or at the 70th edition of the festival.

Austrian director Michael Haneke could make it a record third Palme d'Or with "Happy End", starring the queen of art-house cinema, Isabelle Huppert.

Farhadi collected his Oscar statuette Wednesday in France, via producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy. But France has an absurd law, meant to protect movie theatres from online competition, requiring that movies be kept off of subscription streaming services for thirty-six months after their theatrical release.

Spanish director Almodovar, who heads a jury that includes Hollywood stars Will Smith and Jessica Chastain, took a tough line with Netflix, telling reporters it would be "an enormous paradox if the Palme d'Or went to a film that can not be seen in cinemas".

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"The size of the screen should not be smaller than the chair you're sitting in. It should not be part of your everyday setting", said the Spanish filmmaker. "You must feel small and humble in front of the image that is here to capture you".

His hometown of Philadelphia "is a long way from Cannes Film Festival", Smith said.

The $50 million project starring Tilda Swinton and directed by Bong Joon-Ho will hit theaters in South Korea, the United States and Britain, but will only be available on Netflix elsewhere in the world. With Netflix they get the benefit to watch what they never would have seen, it brings great connectivity to them to the world. "I want to give them an abundance of films (to watch)". "There's very little cross between going to the cinema and watching what they watch on Netflix".

During Wednesday's jury press conference, Almodovar read a prepared statement addressing the Netflix controversy at the festival. Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan, Nice, one year ago.

A festival spokeswoman said the measures were to "guarantee the festival-goers' optimal security" while "taking care not to disrupt" the event.

Arnaud Desplechin's "Ismael's Ghosts", with Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Cotillard, was the opening-night film. It has offered theaters the opportunity of a day-and-date release (opening a movie in theaters simultaneously as it debuts on the service), something large exhibitors have thus far rejected.

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